Brass Area


Brass students at Colorado State University have the opportunity to play in the region's top ensembles including two orchestras, three concert bands, two jazz bands, three chamber jazz ensembles, and a world class marching band. There are also many chamber opportunities including large brass ensemble, trumpet ensemble, horn ensemble, quintets, quartets, and trios. These ensembles have been featured at such venues as the Rocky Mountain Trumpet Fest, holiday events in Fort Collins, the Pepsi Center with the Denver Nuggets, CSU national concerts, and many more.

In the brass area, as opposed to working with a graduate student for instruction, students will study extensively with a professor of their instrument. Instrumental studios work in a competitive, yet friendly environment, allowing for great musical growth in the ensembles. In addition to personal instruction from the professor, combined studio classes offer pupils opportunity to work with other professors, allowing for an experience of breadth as well as depth. Prolific brass guest artists visit CSU every semester, giving students exposure to professionals in the field as an avenue for a diverse and comprehensive education. Many opportunities are available to students in this exclusive environment, fostering development towards becoming a well-rounded person, world-class performer, and successful teacher.

Study With

John McGuire

Brass Area Coordinator
Assistant Professor of Horn
Music Appreciation, Brass Techniques

(970) 491-8515

Caleb Hudson

Assistant Professor of Trumpet

Christopher Van Hof

Assistant Professor of Trombone

(970) 491-6224

Stephen Dombrowski

Instructor of Tuba

(303) 922-6108

Brass Events

Master Class: Ilan Morgenstern, Trombone

November 9, 2016 at 11:00 AM
Students of all ages are welcome to attend a master class with Ilan Morgenstern, bass trombone for the San Antonio Symphony and faculty at the Univesity of Houston and Texas Lutheran College.

Virtuoso Series Concert, Faculty Chamber Music

November 14, 2016 at 7:30 PM
Featuring Tiffany Blake, soprano; Michelle Stanley, flute; Wesley Ferreira, clarinet; Peter Sommer, saxophone; Caleb Hudson, trumpet; Eric Hollenbeck, percussion; Barbara Thiem, cello; Dan Goble, saxophone; Ron Francois, violin, and Margaret Miller, viola, the program includes Quartet, Opus 22 by Anton Webern, a flute and viola duet by Paul Hayden, and Wes Kenney conducting Facades by [...]

2017 International Horn Competition of America

August 31, 2017 at 12:00 AM
The School of Music, Theatre and Dance at Colorado State University is proud to host the 2017 International Horn Competition of America at the University Center for the Arts. The International Horn Competition of America is open to hornists of all nationalities. The competition does not discriminate based on the model of horn, tone color, [...]

Brass News


Trombone Studio Mountain Campus Retreat


By Chris Van Hof, Assistant Professor of Trombone On Saturday, Aug. 27, the members of the Colorado State University Trombone Studio and I made the two-hour trek to CSU’s gorgeous Mountain Campus for the first-ever Trombone Studio Retreat. This being my fourth year as the Trombone Professor, it was time to find creative ways to […]

Rebecca Phillips conducting the All-State Band of the South Carolina Band Directors Association Conference

April 2016 Faculty Notes


Last fall, Assistant Professor of Music History K. Dawn Grapes had her annotated bibliography/research guide to “John Dowland” recently published online by Oxford University Press in Oxford Bibliographies. In her introduction, Dr. Grapes describes Dowland (b. 1563–d. 1623) as an internationally known English musician of the late 16th and early 17th centuries. As the most […]

Brass Blog

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Through the Lens of Art

Today was a day off for Fortress Brass, so our host, Irina, sent a driver to take us to some of the sights in St. Petersburg that are not within walking distance. Before we left, though, we walked to see the Kazansky Cathedral. This massive Russian Orthodox church was built in the early 1800s to […]

Right off the plane and into the first rehearsal of the Forster Concerto.

Fortress Brass Returns to St. Petersburg

Well, here we are! Another year, another Fortress Brass tour! After a year off, we’ve come back to St. Petersburg, Russia as part of the Brass Autumn Music Festival. It’s always so much fun to go on adventures, especially with this group. But, as enjoyable as a tour is, I always feel the hardest part […]



The trumpet studio at Colorado State University is comprised of around twenty highly talented musicians studying to be successful in a career in music. Former students from the studio who have graduated with a degree in music have moved onto nationally respected schools for masters and doctoral studies; and most have achieved work in performance, education, and therapy fields outright.

It is woven in the fabric of the trumpet studio that students are helpful and supportive to each other, while maintaining a healthy, highly competitive environment. Auditions occur in Dec. and Feb., and questions about the process should be addressed to Caleb Hudson.


Guest Artists






David Hickman

Arizona State University; website.



Kevin Whalen

Columbus State University; website.


Brian Shaw

Louisiana State University; website.

max matzen

Max Matzen

Utah State University; website.


Brett Long

Nazareth College; website.


David Champouillon

East Tennessee State University; website.


Saxton photo

Judith Saxton

University of North Carolina School of Music; website.


Jose Sibaja

Arizona State University, Empire Brass; website.


Jeff Conner

Boston Brass; website.

Jim Thompson

James Thompson

Eastman School of Music; website.


Studio Overview

The CSU Horn Studio philosophy is simple: Through the horn, we strive to develop the very best musicians, whether their career goals involve playing in a high level professional orchestra or military band, teaching at any level (elementary music through collegiate level teaching) as a private applied horn teacher or as a music educator, as a music therapist, or as a music administrator. We witness on an almost daily basis the fact that the high level, intensive study of music, specifically on the horn, aids the student in all measurable ways in the pursuit of one’s life passions.

Here at CSU, we value individuals of impeccable character who are not afraid of persistent, dedicated, and diligent practice. At the end of the day, every professional knows that there are countless people that can be chosen for a job. Frequently, what matters most to a long term employer is that the individual that is chosen is of good character and can be counted on the do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, whether they want to do it or not. We strive every day to create not just horn players or musicians, but leaders in the rapidly changing world of music.

Each and every student has somewhat different professional goals and comes in at a somewhat different level than any other horn student. By the completion of a music degree at CSU, the individual should expect to have realized some of their true potential musically and to have the tools to be able to continue their progress after they leave here.


The CSU Horn Studio has grown in recent years, in quantity but more importantly in quality. Our recent graduates have gone on to careers as music educators, therapists, and professional performers, including positions in orchestras around the world. Progress as a horn player at CSU involves a significant commitment to the craft of horn playing and the art of music making. This means a lot of time in the practice room (obviously!), but also means stepping out of the confines of the UCA and experiencing what the real world of music has to offer.

In order to better facilitate the growing needs of our talented young artists, Dr. McGuire has overseen an expansion of the reach of the CSU Horn Studio. The CSU Horn Studio frequently participates in regional and national workshops and competes in several international horn solo competitions. In addition to this, we have welcomed well-known artists to our campus, hornists like Johanna Yarbrough (Fourth Horn, Detroit Symphony Orchestra), Charles Snead (former Principal Horn, Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra), Jeff Nelsen (former hornist with the Canadian Brass), and Martin Hackleman (former Principal Horn of the National Symphony Orchestra and hornist with the Canadian Brass and Empire Brass).

By bringing in such artists in addition to branching out on an international level, the CSU Horn Studio hopes to continue the growth and development of our emerging young artists and build on our proud recent tradition of excellence.


October 23

Musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra 2nd half Philadelphia Orchestra Musicians National Symphony Orchestra Musicians Cleveland Orchestra Musicians Musicians of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Boston Symphony Orchestra #musiciansofsteel #themusicWONTstop #lipsofsteel #allthebrass

Guest Artists



Charles "Skip" Snead

Charles "Skip" Snead

University of Alabama; website.


Jeffrey Powers

Baylor University; website.


David Cooper

Dallas Symphony; website.

Martin Hackleman

Martin Hackleman

University of Missouri, Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance; website.

Jeff Nelsen

Jeff Nelsen

Indiana University Jacobs School of Music; website.

Johanna Yarbrough

Johanna Yarbrough

Detroit Symphony Orchestra; website.


Studio Overview

The Colorado State University Trombone/Euphonium Studio is a vibrant and motivating place to study the art of performance, pedagogy, and professionalism. Comprised of 15-20 students, the studio is close-knit, supportive, and competitive in the best possible way. The studio is primarily undergraduate, with 1-2 invaluable graduate students a year who are leaders and mentors for the younger players. CSU is a leader in Music Education in the state of Colorado and is also a top program nationally for Music Therapy. The performance major at CSU is rigorous and focused on helping students achieve their personal professional goals.

Students in the studio study the fundamentals of brass performance and teaching, as well as skills and techniques required for success as a musician in the 21st century: improvisation (jazz and otherwise), doubling on other low brass instruments (alto/tenor/bass trombone, euphonium), symphonic section playing, jazz big band and commercial section playing, traditional and contemporary solo repertoire, and arranging for low brass.

All trombone and euphonium students at CSU study strictly with Dr. Van Hof, the primary professor. A unique, personalized curriculum is created for each individual student that serves both the professor's objectives for them as a player, and their long-term objectives as a professional musician.

All members also perform in the CSU Low Brass Choir, and have the option to audition to perform in the CSU Trombone Octet, comprised of the top six tenors and top two basses in the school. These ensembles perform regularly on campus and in the Fort Collins community, as well as touring regionally and – at least once during every students' time at CSU – nationally. Recent performances include the 2014 BigXII Trombone Conference in Lubbock, Texas.

If you are interested in studying trombone or euphonium at CSU, contact Dr. Van Hof for a lesson and informational session. There is no charge for initial lessons for students interested in undergraduate or graduate study at CSU.


  • Yamaha Xeno Tenor Trombone
  • Yamaha Xeno Bass Trombone
  • Yamaha Alto Trombone
  • Getzen Custom Series Bass Trombone
  • 2 vintage Conn Connstellation Jazz Trombones
  • 1 vintage Olds Ambassador Jazz Trombone

Trombone Choir

Comprised of the students of the CSU Trombone Studio and other talented trombonists from the CSU community, the Trombone Choir is the primary performing ensemble of the Studio. The Trombone Choir studies and performs music from all musical eras and genres stretching from Renaissance dances to funk and heavy metal. Professor Van Hof writes many of the Choir’s arrangements, but students are encouraged to explore arranging and composing for the group as well. Community outreach is a hallmark of the CSU Trombone Choir, with special focus paid to performances in public spaces and for audiences of all ages. The ensemble makes its debut in the Fall of 2013, and has been invited to perform at the 2014 Big12 Trombone Conference at Texas Tech University.


October 26

This Friday is our first high school run-out concert! We had our final rehearsal today and feel ready to share the joy of music-making and...

Colorado State University Trombone Studio TRAMbone Nation is hitting the road! Greeley West HS on October 28 and Legacy HS on November 4. We'll be playing some very cool music...

Undergraduate Audition Requirements

You will perform your audition for the four brass faculty at CSU. Auditions are fifteen minutes long. You should expect to play for a majority of that time, but there will also be a few questions possible from the panel of brass faculty.

For your audition to be accepted as a music major at CSU, you must be prepared to perform the following repertoire:

I. Scales

  • 2-octave scales chosen from the following keys: G, C, F, B-flat, E-Flat, A-flat
  • Choice of octaves is up to the individual performer
  • All scales must be performed in quarter notes at 120 beats per minute
  • All scales must be performed ascending and descending
  • All scales must be performed by memory

IIa. Tenor Trombone and Euphonium Solos/Etudes: choose either one solo or two etudes.

Etude options:

  • Voxman Selected Studies
  • Blazevich Clef Studies
  • Rochut/Bordogni Melodious Etudes

Solo options:

  • David Concertino (minimum two movements)
  • Hindemith Sonata (minimum two movements)
  • Galliard Sonatas 1-6 (minimum two movements from any of the six sonatas)
  • Guilmant Morceau Symphonique (complete)
  • Barat Andante et Allegro (complete)
  • Mozart Concerto for Bassoon in B-flat K 191 (minimum two movements)
  • Rimsky-Korsakov Concerto (be prepared on all three movements)


IIb. Bass Trombone Solos/Etudes: choose either one solo or two etudes.

Etude options:

  • Rochut/Bordogni Melodious Etudes
  • Tyrell Advanced Studies for BBb Bass
  • Ostrander Method for Bass Trombone

Solo options:

  • Lebedev Concerto (complete)
  • Lebedev Concertante Allegro (complete)
  • Bozza Prelude and Allegro (complete)
  • Hindemith Three Easy Pieces (complete—usu. filed under “Cello”)
  • Galliard Sonatas 1-6 (minimum two movements from any of the six sonatas)
  • Koetsier Allegro Maestoso
  • Sachse Concertino (complete)

III. Sight-reading

All applicants will be expected to sight-read approximately three lines of music. The sight-reading will only be in bass clef—no tenor or alto clef.

Download a printable version of the audition requirements (PDF).

Guest Artists




James Box

Montreal Symphony, McGill University; website.


Evan Conroy

Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra; website.


Nick Finzer

NYC freelance jazz trombonist; website.


Mark Hetzler

University of Wisconsin; website.


Mark Kellogg

Eastman School of Music, Rochester Philharmonic; website.


Steve Wolfinbarger

Western Michigan University; website.


Studio Overview

The CSU tuba studio is comprised of fantastic students eager to make the tuba a part of their lives. Students learn the fundamentals of playing the tuba, along with life-long lessons about being a professional musician. Whether the focus is on band, orchestra, music therapy, or music education, tuba students will find the CSU tuba studio a welcoming and challenging environment.

Tuba students have opportunity to perform in chamber ensembles, University Symphony Orchestra, Wind Symphony, Sinfonia, and Symphonic Band.


October 10

Octubafest is in full swing! Thank you to Aaron Tindall for a wonderful masterclass and inspirational recital. Bravo tuba/euph students!!

October 3

Great masterclass with Mr Pagano. Nice playing, Connor Walker Challey!

October 10

Octubafest is in full swing! Thank you to Aaron Tindall for a wonderful masterclass and inspirational recital. Bravo tuba/euph students!!

Guest Artists



Richard White

Richard White

New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, University of New Mexico; website.

Kevin Sanders

Kevin Sanders

University of Memphis; website.

Alex Lapins

Alex Lapins

University of Northern Arizona; website.